How One Client is Helping with Hurricane Relief
Photo Courtesy of MPOWERD
MPOWERD’s innovative business model is built on a very simple premise: bringing light to some of the world’s darkest places. In 2012, the B Corp’s founders developed the Luci Light, which is 100% solar, durable, collapsible and waterproof, after a series of natural disasters inspired them to find a way to help.
Today, more than three million Luci Lights have been distributed in more than 90 countries, from Nepal to Houston, Puerto Rico and Papua New Guinea, where they are used for disaster relief, improving community health, and safety. MPOWERD works with both private and non-profit organizations to distribute the lights in areas that may not have easy access to electricity due to poverty, remoteness, or natural disasters. The lights often replace kerosene lighting, which is dangerous for the people using them and harmful to the planet. “MPOWERD believes everyone deserves access to well-designed, reliable, clean energy, and so does the planet,” says co-founder and Chief Business Development Officer John Salzinger.
As a B Corp, MPOWERD has a unique business model because there is no one-size-fits-all solution given the diversity of regions and circumstances where they work. As a result, the company works closely with a range of invested parties on the ground in the local communities, including NGOs, governmental organizations to distribute lights at cost or free of charge to communities in need. Their work is also bolstered by retailers, like-minded companies, and individual customers, who support the mission and provide financial or logistical support. Following the devastating hurricanes this past fall, MPOWERD has focused on disaster relief in Puerto Rico, Houston, and the Virgin Islands, where individual customers have personally brought hundreds of lights to communities affected by the storms. The flexibility to work with a diverse range of groups on the ground, “gives us the agility to make significant progress in both disaster relief efforts and more long-term projects,” says Salzinger.
In addition to distributing Luci Lights, MPOWERD works in local communities to educate people about environmental issues and to help empower individuals to start a resale business. On a recent trip to Honduras, MPOWERD staff worked with Abundant Light Foundation to teach children there about renewable energy. In Papua New Guinea, a program sells the lights to women at cost so they can resell them, giving them a source of income and independence. Following the implementation of a similar program in Kenya, the Maasai women who ran businesses selling Luci Lights used their newfound power and independence to tackle additional issues affecting their communities, including female genital cutting.
Luci Lights also are popular among outdoor enthusiasts for their durability and reliability. Through a Give One/Get One program, customers can purchase a light for themselves and MPOWERD will send one to their non-profit partners. New Resource Bank recently participated in this program to donate 100 lights to Puerto Rico after the hurricane. “New Resource aligns very well with companies that care,” says CEO Seungah Jeong. “Participation with like-minded corporations is essential to the overall success and mission of MPOWERD.”